A Royal Navy engineer who struck another Wigan club-goer in the face with a bottle has walked free from court.
James Clarke admitted striking Daniel Platt with a half full bottle of Budweiser but claimed he had been acting in self-defence after the other man lunged at him first.
He lunged at me and instinctively I just defended myself. He had his arms outstretched and just came very quickly towards me. I instinctively defended myself by throwing punches. I punched him two or three timesJames Clarke
A jury at Liverpool Crown Court took just over an hour to unanimously acquit 26-year-old Clarke of both wounding with intent and a lesser alternative charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Clarke, who is from Chorley but living in Gosport near Southampton, denied both offences and was discharged from the dock.
During the four-day trial the court heard that HGV driver Mr Platt has been left scarred after the incident in the Bamboogy Club in Wigan’s King Street in the early hours of October 17.
Mr Clarke, who has been in the Royal Navy for seven years, told how he was home on leave and had gone out that night with his friend Max Washington and they ended up in the club.
Mr Washington began talking to a girl, Lauren McLoughlin, who the court heard was there with three friends, including Mr Platt. “He was trying to steal a kiss,” explained Clarke.
Mr Platt has claimed she appeared unhappy about that but Clarke said: “I did not see any difficulty between them, I did not notice any bad feeling” and added he had not seen her push Mr Washington away.
“I noticed a man (Mr Platt) came up behind him, looking over his shoulders and shoulder barged him out of the way.. I went and stood next to Max because I was out with him. He (Mr Platt) then sees me and said, ‘what is your f…ing problem?’ and pushed me in the chest with one hand.
“He seemed very aggressive and agitated about something. Lauren pushed him away. He was looking over her shoulder, he was staring at me and I was staring back,” claimed Clarke.
Asked by his barrister Paul Hodgkinson how serious he thought the situation was he replied, “I thought it was more handbags at that point.”
“Lauren was stood in front of Daniel Platt with both hands on his chest. She pointed towards me while looking at him.”
Asked about the attack with the bottle Clarke said: “He lunged at me and instinctively I just defended myself. He had his arms outstretched and just came very quickly towards me. I instinctively defended myself by throwing punches. I punched him two or three times.”
Clarke, who is left-handed, said he first struck him with his left hand and then his right in which he had forgotten he had the bottle. He denied intending to hit him with it.
Questioned about “cracking” him again as Mr Platt started to walk away he replied, “It all happened so fast It was just instinctive to get rid of the threat.”
Clarke said that the photograph of Mr Platt’s injury was “sickening” and he felt “so much remorse.” Mr Platt suffered a 12cm wound to his face which needed 13 stitches.